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Who was John the Baptist? A character study.

Updated on January 23, 2014
The voice of one crying in the wilderness, "Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him."
The voice of one crying in the wilderness, "Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him."

Look at their similarities:

Elijah - 2 Kings 1:8 – “he was a man with a garment of hair and with a leather belt around his waist.” The king said, “That is Elijah the Tishbite.”

John the Baptist - Matthew 3:4 – “John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.”

a short character study on John the Baptist

Who was John the Baptist?

John was the last of the Old Testament prophets. True, we don’t meet him until the New Testament, and God hadn’t spoke to his people for 400 years, but he still qualifies as an Old Testament prophet. He even looked the part. Dressed in camel’s hair and a leather belt, living in the desert, he reminded the people of the ancient prophet, Elijah.

John was a man with a purpose. Even his birth was a miracle. He was the only son of elderly parents. His father was Zechariah the priest. While serving in the Temple, an angel visited Zechariah to tell him that he would have a son. From the time of his birth, John was filled with the Holy Spirit. This was not common in those days. We are fortunate today to live in a time when the Holy Spirit is among us. Anyone who gives their life to Christ receives the Holy Spirit. This allows us to be in the constant communication with God that Christ’s sacrifice made possible. It is his gift to us. Before the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God only talked to certain people at certain times. Those were the Old Testament Prophets, chosen people were filled with the Holy Spirit and able to communicate with God and pass on His message to the rest. John was one of these men. His message was so important that he had been the subject of prophesy. Seven hundred years earlier, the prophet Isaiah said of him: “A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.” So John came before Jesus, preparing the hearts of the people for their savior. He preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of their sins, and told them that the kingdom of Heaven was near. He was a witness for Jesus, telling the people that Jesus was the Son of God and what he would do for them.

John 1: 6 – 8 –“There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.”

Many people responded to his message and were baptized in the Jordan River. They confessed their sins and turned away from them, starting their life on a new path. It is interesting to me that many of the religious leaders of the day did not want to repent of their sins and be forgiven. They worked hard to be perfect and were proud of how good they were. Their hearts were hard and they never accepted Jesus for who he was, their only salvation. I think this still happens today. Many religious people work so hard at looking good that they don’t need Jesus. They believe they can be good enough to escape the penalty of their sin. In fact, they don’t want anyone to know that they ever do anything wrong. But the truth is that all of us do wrong and the cost of our sin is death. The good news that John proclaimed is that Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth and lived a perfect life among us. This made him worthy to pay the cost of our sin for us by dying on the cross. To prove he had the power to do this, he rose from the dead three days later. Now we have a line of communication open between us and God that allows us to experience his unconditional love and a personal relationship with him.

I hope you enjoyed this hub. You can continue on with the Blessings and Eternity of Jesus.

Further Study

Read about John the Baptist yourself. These verses compiled by the Thompson Chain Reference Bible.

Isaiah 40:3

Matthew 3 ; 4:12; 11:2-19; 14:1-12

Mark 1:1-8; 6:14-29

Luke 1:1-25; 3:1-20; 7:18-35

John 1 ; 3:22-36; 5:33-35; 10:40-42


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    • April Reynolds profile image

      April Reynolds 6 years ago from Arizona

      Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.

    • profile image

      thecozycactus 6 years ago

      Another great article, April!